Over $3.75M in misused public money remains uncollected

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The Tennessee Comptroller's Office remains committed to uncovering and tracking the theft and misuse of public money. Two new reports show that local governments continue to be short millions of dollars.

The 2017 Report of Cash Shortages in Tennessee's 95 county governments updates the amounts of cash shortages and thefts as of June 30, 2017. The report details money that went missing during the 2017 fiscal year, as well as previous fiscal years.

The state's 95 counties began the 2017 fiscal year with $856,112.01 in cash shortages that had not been recovered. During the fiscal year, $1,020,570.49 worth of new shortages were detected. Counties were able to recover or write-off $905,062.26 through restitution payments, insurance claims or other means. That left a net unrecovered shortage of $971,620.24 at the end of the fiscal year.

The Comptroller's office also released its report detailing cash shortages and other thefts for Tennessee municipalities, internal school funds, utility districts, housing authorities, nonprofits, and other governmental entities. These shortages were reported in fiscal year 2016 and earlier.

Fiscal year 2016 began with a cash shortage of $2,727,307. During the year, $807,356 in new shortages were detected. A total of $753,927 was recovered or written-off during the fiscal year, leaving an unrecovered shortage of $2,780,736 at fiscal year end.

Cash Shortage in Tennessee Counties as of June 30, 2017 was $971,620.24. Cash Shortage in Other Governmental Entities as of June 30, 2016 was $2,780,736.00 for a total of $3,752,356.24.

The reports do not show any Cash Shortages for Cannon County Government, Cannon County Schools or the Town of Woodbury.

"The misuse of public money should be a concern to all of us," Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. "Tennesseans expect their leaders and public officials to take steps to prevent fraud, waste and abuse. Our auditors and investigators make frequent recommendations to safeguard public assets. Following these recommendations will help make government work better."

Both reports provide explanations of how the shortages were discovered, methods used to steal money, and legal actions taken against those responsible.

To view the 2017 Report of Cash Shortages in county governments online, click here.

To view the 2016 Municipalities and Other Organizations Report of Cash Shortages online, click here.

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller's toll-free hotline at (800) 232-5454, or file a report online at: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow us on twitter @TNCOT

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